Psychology of food idea (followup to Allen Carr book review)


I have an idea for the ideal relationship with your food:
1) Maximize nutrition
2) Minimize cravings
If you’re experiencing cravings, you’re doing food wrong.
For example, eating a cinnamon roll is going to produce cravings later.
Simple calorie restrictions will also produce cravings. On the other hand, getting lots of calories of healthy fuel produces satiety.
I’d recommend avoiding pretty much all sauces and sticking to butter. Sauces make large portions go down fast, whereas butter produces a pleasant feeling of satiety.
I generally disagree with Carr’s assertion that foods requiring no preparation are superior to cooked foods. I think it’s precisely the opposite.
Cooked eggs, meats, veggies, rice, potatoes > fruits, nuts, maybe even raw veggies if the pattern holds.
Obviously both are far and away superior to processed foods of any stripe. It’s like Army vs. Marines vs. convicted pedophiles.
Anyway, I think you’d have great difficulty maintaining a gut on eggs, meats, cooked veggies, rice, potatoes, and butter. Nothing allowed for additional flavor except salt. Call it the caveman crock pot diet or something like that.
Imagine trying to gain weight on a diet of baked potatoes with butter. Could you even force down two in one sitting? That’s only 300 calories.
It only feels like a lot of calories because your body is saying “That’s all I need.”

tl;dr- Don’t eat less food, eat more of the best food. And the best foods are eggs, butter, meat, potatoes, veggies, and rice. That’s 80% of what you could learn on the subject.

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14 Responses to Psychology of food idea (followup to Allen Carr book review)

  1. rillxn says:

    I’ve more or less nailed down my diet recently after a decade of trial and error and experimentation so I think I’ll chip in my 2 cents. It’s essentially consistent to what you outlined except my goals were:

    1. Optimize macronutrient distribution (high protein, medium fat, low carb)
    2. Satiety
    3. Easy to Prepare
    4. Relatively Inexpensive

    This is literally what I eat every single day:

    Meal 1: 3 eggs, black coffee
    Meal 2: Protein shake (1 scoop whey, quarter cup steel cut oats, 1 tbsp peanut butter)
    Meal 3: Chicken salad (1 grilled chicken breast, spinach, walnuts, olive oil, vinaigrette)
    Meal 4: Ground beef/turkey, brown rice, broccoli, side of plain greek yogurt

    It’s not exactly a culinary tour de force but I never experience cravings, rarely experience hunger, I stay at a desirable BMI (low bf, retain decent muscle mass), and I have the whole process on autopilot so meal prep takes little time or willpower.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Very similar to what I do, in general. Right now I’ve been doing a very restricted diet to see if it drives me nuts, but eventually I’ll get back to something that looks like this.

      I’ll say this though: I got off the whey protein, it wasn’t working for me. My post workout now is just milk, and I drink so much milk now (2-3 gallons a week) that I switched to skim because all the fat was turning my poop yellowish.

      • WW says:

        Whey protien is incredibly insulinogenic (more than sugar!).

        Even the best isolates made me feel horrible. Casien is even worse (chemically near identical to glutin so not good for the mucin layer of gut. For anyone- thats before any sensitivities)

        • Sage medic says:

          I have fructose malabsorption myself, from all the vomitting I did, many years ago now. It stripped the tips of the villi away from my duodenum, that contain the nucleus that produce fructase and lactase.

          Thankfully I can still eat lactose and olglio saccarides.

    • Ned the Medic says:

      Try soaking the oats for 24 hrs in the fridge, as this process removes the Phyric acid. Phyric acid interferes with the up take of macro and micro elements within the G.I. tract.

      It’s an old traditional method from Scotland, for making good oats. Pinch of salt was also added.

  2. Chezgr@y says:

    Have you read Stephan Guyenet’s The Hungry Brain? He delves deep into why a diet like the one you suggest is optimal

  3. MM says:

    There are loads of ways to add flavor to food that add both enjoyment and increase satiety (as well as improving the nutrient and beneficial-compound profile of your diet!).

    Adding olive oil to veggies makes them more filling, healthier (assuming true EVOO), and is vital in the actual cooking process itself (cooking food fast in a pan being by far the fastest, most convenient method of cooking besides a crock pot. Especially for cleanup).

    For meats there are many additions that can provide the same:
    Chimichurri sauce (olive oil, herbs, white wine vinegar)
    Gremolata (basically a simpler, Italian chimichurri. Very easy, delicious, healthy)
    ^Both go well with any meat
    Garlic aeoli (olive oil not mayo) and similar things if you really love garlic like me.
    And if you are going to add a bunch of butter to your steak or potatoes there’s certainly not a problem with adding garlic or chives or sour cream or any herb. Or making a Bearnaise sauce with tarragon or a simpler hollandaise sauce (both have a base of emulsified egg yolks, lemon, butter), etc.

    Many sauces for meat (french) are just butter anyway. Or cream. Add shallots maybe garlic perhaps wine rarely vinegar. And various herb.

    Sugary asian sauces are the ones that come to mind as horrible for you. Bar b cue sauce is also bad, and ketchup isn’t so good but ppl tend to use more reasonable amounts of it so its iffy.
    (btw- most mustard is healthy and flavorful and it naturally emulsifies fats)

    Yeah most pre-bought, fast food, or restaurant sauces/dressings are absolutely death for you, unless its a basic sauce with no fat or sugar (then you just have the micro-plastics from the packaging) or if it is something used in amounts considered acceptable, if someone is trying to moderate something (like ketchup).

    Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, fish sauce, vinegar sauces, lemon juice, and others all add flavor with minimal calories and a healthy fat can just be incorporated into the sauce, presumably after you deglaze the pan with the sauce saving you cleaning time + adding the best “free” flavor to the sauce, which is that brown (hopefully not black!) layer that builds up while you cook.

    Smoking many cuts of meat (or just cooking over hard wood smoke) also make them way better for no calories, but there probably is a health hit if you are the kind of person that loves eating the ‘burnt ends’ and such. That’s prob best to avoid…

    There are also simple pairings that are delicious and healthy:

    Sausage goes with sauerkraut and mustard. You can add garlic to your butter, serve a hamburger steak with sauteed onions, have some guac with your taco salad, etc.

    Salads are also great if the dressing is great. And that just takes fresh ingredients and a quality extra virgin olive oil (Tuscan EVOO. The costco green bottle is best for the money and is said to be surprisingly high quality. As in ‘more than good enough’)
    The other thing to mention is probiotic foods. They are not an optional part of a diet, avoidance of them will at minimal lead to suboptimal digestion (and levels of vitamin K).

    “Live” sauerkraut (or fermented, non vinegar, pickles) being the best probiotic from what I’ve read, since yogurt doesn’t really shield the microbes well in the stomach.

    I don’t disagree with the conclusion of the post, I’m just have a different solution to the premise of maximizing nutrition whilst reducing cravings

    (and I do think human attraction to many novel flavors ultimately comes from an added benefit of a varied diet, especially of herbs and spices and some nuts which are rich in less common vitamins and minerals as well as often containing very helpful compounds on their own. See- turmeric, ginger, garlic, horseradish, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and more)

    I mean, if you eat bland ass food you will indeed reliably lose weight.

    If you stick to it.

    Most people stick to ‘fairly convenient, easy, enjoyable’ way more than ‘hardcore’ so for most people they should just learn to cook better tasting healthy food if at all allowed by their situation.

    I strongly agree that anything that makes you MORE hungry is a problem. I think your food should inspire enthusiasm but if it goes further than that then cut it.
    But for normal people the things that do that should just be sugar, bread, fried food, and anything else obviously junk. That stuff is for if you need to gain weight only or you are just burning too many calories at a manual labor job or what have you.

    Food is one of the few pleasures in life that doesn’t really burn itself out like almost everything does.
    That means you need to be careful with it, but I did the hardcore health thing years ago (down to 160 lbs) and I think the ‘cook tasty healthy food’ approach is way less neurotic and way more easy and it seems to be working just as well (though my being sick lately took off 20lbs so its too early to know how the speed of weight loss compares to the hardcore approach).

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      And I would add that “cook tasty healthy” leads to a much richer, more balanced life in general which is going to be sustainable over time. The hardcore neurotic thing is like doing diets that produce cravings and big swings in weight. If people just lost five pounds a year for the rest of their lives they’d be way healthier than if they had abs one year and beer guts the next. That’s fast life history nigger shit.

  4. MM says:

    On a sidenote, when I was eating super neurotically “healthy” (it was healthy, but was way too far and zero carbs…) it was surprising how fast most cravings went away (and if trying foods many tasted legit bad, especially things like chips- they tasted rancid) but the absolute most addictive, craving-inducing thing turned out to be… cheese (followed by milk, but not closely. I could stop drinking milk)

    No matter how much willpower I applied I just couldnt stop eating it (it was a matter of principle at the time, not nutrition really. Most cheese is pretty fine, and the aged hard cheeses and feta seem to be totally fine unless its a ‘moldy’ cheese like blue cheese which some people- myself included- dont do well with).

    Anyway, I dont know if that maps for other people at all, but it is curious.

    • aiaslives says:

      > Anyway, I dont know if that maps for other people at all, but it is curious.
      Same experience.
      You think cheese is addictive? Wait until you try cashew nuts.

  5. The medic says:

    Weston A. Price, Nutrition and physical degeneration. Over 100 years old still read in nutrition degrees today.

    I find as you age if you work out how to reset your gut biodome to physically healthy, your body readily rejects food that hurts you.

    Collegen in soups I find best, Vietnamese PHO, with the influence of French cuisine, tops my list. Philippino soups too, tripe, beef, ginger with an orange twist is yum. Beef soup hmmmm so good, lots of pepper. Bulalo Bulalo soup, a friends wife taught me how to cook that. Pino is influenced by Spanish cuisine.

  6. aiaslives says:

    > Anyway, I think you’d have great difficulty maintaining a gut on eggs, meats, cooked veggies, rice, potatoes, and butter. Nothing allowed for additional flavor except salt. Call it the caveman crock pot diet or something like that.

    Literally my diet except I also drink milk and eat other vegetables and seasonal fruits.
    And seed oil is also bad, so you need to make sure you’re not eating things that are processed.

    Big 2:

    there you go. Exercise while looking at the sun. No, you won’t go blind.
    It’s literally up there in the sky man, why the fuck are you scared?

    What’s the biggest driver of climate change?

    Imagine you’re locked in a cell and malnourished except you have a large open window with a lot of sunlight. You’d still be healthy and sane for many years.

  7. Pingback: How to quantify a healthy relationship with food | Aeoli Pera

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